How Mobility is Changing the World

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Harvard Business Review/SAP

Innovative mobile technologies improve lives and society in both developed and developing economies.

WHEN ANALYSTS FOR the World Bank early in 2012 calculated the global growth in mobile technology between 2005 and 2010, the results were staggering. Taking into account seven indicators—from coverage available and subscriptions per capita to mobile broadband sub¬scriptions and mobile Internet use (not just cellular use)—its July 2012 Maximizing Mobile report calculated a 30 percent increase in availability and usage.

Significantly, the report noted that growth was not limited to just a few regions. In 2000, according to the World Bank, there were 700 million mobile subscriptions, 71 percent of them in high-income countries and 29 percent in developing countries. Figure 1

By 2010, there were 5.9 billion mobile subscriptions, 23 percent in high-income countries, and 77 percent in developing countries.

And when IDG Global Solutions measured worldwide usage of emerging technologies earlier this year, such as location-based offers and contactless transactions (in which a card is waved near a receiver, rather than run through a reader), it also found mostly moderate dif¬ferences in the penetration among North America, Europe, and other regions. Figure 2.

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